Shortly after meeting with President Shimon Peres this afternoon, we headed to Yad Vashem for the Opening Ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes Remembrance Day. The president's tone and remarks reflected the somber coming of Yom HaShoah.
The ceremony was held outdoors against one of the building's stone walls, from which hung two long vertical Israeli flags. The wall was lighted so that it had a red hue, and to the left of the podium was a climbing and glowing Memorial Torch. President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu both spoke. A well known Israeli singer, Yehudit Ravitz, sang a well known and beautiful song, and children played violins. A military honor guard was on hand to lower the Israeli flag to half mast. Israel's Chief Rabbi recited Kaddish, and a cantor sang El Maleh Rahamim ("God Who is Full of Mercy"). There was a slight chill in the Jerusalem air.
The stories of six survivors, Simcha Applebaum, Avraham Avriel, Dina Buchler-Chen, Andrei Caralsu, Yona Fuchs and Chava Pressburger, were shown on two projection screens.They told of roundups, deportations, arrivals to the camps, the deaths of loved ones, survival, and ultimately their settlement in the State of Israel.
About this, what more can one say?